November’s gubernatorial election is right around the corner.
As incumbent governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger seeks out his final term, while treasurer Phil Angelides serves as the liberal alternative.
Schwarzenegger says his endorsements are as “diverse as our great state.” Some of these partnerships include Business Leaders for Arnold, Farmers and Ranchers for Arnold, Hispanic Families for Arnold and Environmentalists for Arnold, according to the governor’s re-election Web site.
Angelides also has a range of endorsements. His most popular support stems from education and law enforcement groups.
Both candidates say they have the support of environmentalists. And Angelides counters Schwarzenegger’s Business Leaders for Arnold endorsement with a Silicon Valley Business Leaders approval of his own.
Noting Schwarzenegger’s significant advantage in fundraising – which may or may not be associated with him leading or within five percentage points in the polls – at least one CSUN faculty member chimed in on a probable outcome of the election.
“It’s Schwarzenegger’s election to lose,” said Tom Hogen-Esch, assistant professor of political science.
Citing a popular “co-opting strategy,” Hogen-Esch also said the governor has successfully borrowed issues on the left, thereby depriving Angelides of his ability to contrast a number of those very issues.
“Schwarzenegger has muddied the waters a bit. He’s supported a number of things a progressive Democrat normally would,” he said, referring to such recent issues as the governor’s legislation aimed at dramatically slashing California greenhouse gas emissions.
“To be more stark, he ran from the right the first time around and got the big smack down from nurses, teachers and fire fighters. So now he’s running from the left,” he said.
Schwarzenegger campaign strategist Julie Soderlund sees her boss’s motives in a different light.
“The governor was elected in a historic recall campaign with a promise to bring the state back to life,” she said. “His interests are with the people, and he’ll continue to do what he believes is best for the state.”
She also claims that Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial accomplishments are low unemployment rates, holding the line on taxes and recent gains in education funding. Soderlund accused Angelides of planning to raise state taxes by more than $18 billion.
Phil Angelides’ spokesman, Nick Papas, charged back.
“It’s pretty clear,” said Papas. “The governor will say anything to keep his job.”
Papas went on to say that the governor has already taken more than $100 million in campaign donations from corporate business groups.
“Right now we have a governor in Sacramento who’s more interested in protecting special interest groups than anything else,” he said.
As far as the Angelides agenda, Papas said college tuition would be rolled back to the “pre-Schwarzenegger era,” amounting to a near $600 million break.
“When elected, Angelides will also raise taxes on himself, i.e. higher wage earners, and lower them by about $1.5 billion for the middle class, including small businesses,” he said “He’s (Angelides) the clearest choice in a generation.”
Business major Lewis Gale thinks the governor should stay right where he is. Gale, who also owns a small real-estate marketing company, said he observed a reduction in his company’s state taxes this year.
“I’ll probably vote for Arnold. When you have more money, you can do more things,” Gale said, adding that he watched his tax rate go down about 3 percent compared to years past.
But senior sociology major Laura Leon said she would like to see a gubernatorial swap in Sacramento. And even though Leon lacks U.S. citizenship – making her ineligible to vote – she voiced her concerns.
“Tuition has been growing since I started here as a freshman,” she said. Leon said her 2002 tuition was about $990. Compared to the $1,500 in tuition costs paid this semester, she believes the governor has given her reason enough to worry.
Leon also cited healthcare, and its inaccessibility to the poor, as another one of her primary concerns.
“There’s too many people in this country without it,” she said.
For 21-year-old psychology major Michael Scrivner, it all comes back to higher tuition.
“As soon as he was in office, he took tons of money from the Cal State system,” he said. “Funding was cut and classes grew. It was harder to get classes.”
Come Nov. 7, Scrivner said he would be at the voting polls.